By Maureen Ragner
Those who are preparing to enter into the working world are required to have the proper tools of the trade. Some tools weren’t accessible on Bethany’s campus because they don’t offer specific classes or have the capability to offer certain majors to future students. However, Bethany is working on adding some new tools to their educational toolbox.
In November 2016, Bethany announced that the biochemistry, engineering and graphic design majors will be added to the 2017 curriculum. The hope is that these three majors will increase student interest and bring more to the college’s classrooms.
The engineering major was proposed by and was planned to be headed by Professor Peter Kjeer. However, after his passing in December 2016, the college has had to look for a new department head who would be able to take his place. There hasn’t been an announcement about a possible replacement being found yet.
“Engineering was something that came up a couple years ago,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Eric Woller.
Kjeer had proposed the idea after his return from Harvard, and it was one that Bethany was open to looking into. The previous program that Bethany had with the University of Minnesota had ended, so the college was open to making an engineering program of their own. This includes creating new engineering classes for any students with interest in the engineering major, which includes classes that Kjeer designed based off the classes that Harvard has.
The biochemistry major has been one that has been considered for some time, as student interest in it started two to three years ago, according to Professor Eric Theiste. He and Dr. Doyle Holbird, who is presently on sabbatical, are in the newly createdbiochemistry department. A good deal of the classes that are already available for students will be used as part of the new major. While there will be one class that is planned to be added to the curriculum, Advanced Biology, most of the classes that biochemistry majors will have to take will be in the chemistry department.
“The thing that governs biology is chemistry,” said Theiste.
The biochemistry major will look like other majors in the chemistry field might appear to be, with the main core of the major being chemistry courses that branch off into the biology field.
“This is a pretty standard type of thing,” said Theiste.
As Bethany already has biology and chemistry majors, the biochemistry major will be the only one with a large overlap between the two already-existing majors.
“You have a foot in both worlds, essentially,” said Theiste.
The graphic design major is one that Professor Andrew Overn proposed, and he has been thinking about it for a good year. As the campus already has studio and media arts majors, it made sense that students who wanted to emphasize graphic design would have a chance their own major to work with. The classes that would actually be required for the major are already available as a part of various other majors, but they hadn’t been getting as much attention as other courses.
“We wanted people to know we really had those classes,” said Overn.
Amanda Quist has played a large part in making the major possible. As the director for KTV and an expert in motion graphics, she is capable of bringing a lot to the table when it comes to educating students in graphic design. This semester she transitioned from coordinator and adjunct faculty to full time faculty.
“Having her on board means we can expand a little bit,” said Overn. “She’s an extraordinarily talented person.”
Overn would like to see more students come to the college for the graphic design major to the point that some classes would have to have more than one period in a single day. It would also give incoming freshman something to aim for, as well, and may cause some underclassmen to switch to graphic design or declare it as their major.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a junior or two switch,” said Overn. “Then they could claim a minor in studio or media arts.”
People having certain tools of the trade are especially important. Bethany expanding its own toolbox to allow students more options for their own is a wise move on their part. Now the hope is that more students will want to get what they need for future occupations from the new majors that will be offered next fall.